Place Those Small Bets, Quickly!

Nothing goes so well with that first cup of coffee as having your biases confirmed!

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (“In Search of Growth Leaders”), University of Virginia/Darden Graduate School of Business Prof Sean Carr, et al., lay out a growth model. There are, more or less, two flavors of companies:

The first sort, focused on avoiding downsides, treats customers “only as data,” “manages risk through analysis,” “places big bets, slowly,” and frequently fails in new situations; alas, its rigidity and fearfulness increases through time in a vicious circle.

The second sort sees life as a “journey of learning.” It treats customers “as people”—and constantly seeks new input through direct contact with those customers. The Type Two group “places small bets, quickly” and manages risk through hustle and an abiding bias for test-try-adjust-action. It is relatively more successful in novel situations—which in turn creates a virtuous circle through which a “growth mindset” becomes the raison d’être of the firm itself.

TP reaction: Amen.

Tom Peters posted this on July 8, 2008, in Strategies.
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